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Micro Mesh - Am I doing something wrong?

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by maj34, Apr 8, 2021.

  1. maj34

    maj34 Tele-Meister

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    I've read all the high praise, and mostly I do think it's a worthwhile product, probably better than sandpaper in my limited experience...

    But on the handful of guitars where I've used it, I can never get the micro-meshed area back to the original finish. It's always cloudy and/or has very fine scratches from some of the grits.

    Two issues here: I assume the scratches are my fault. Maybe I'm applying too much pressure with the low grits. So with each new project I'll try to go lighter but it still happens. The unfortunate thing is that I can't see 'em until I'm up to 8000 or so.

    I've tried wet and tried dry. Wet gives me a nice feel, as if I am doing a very steady/even job, but I can't see what I'm doing. Dry loads up the pads a bit quicker but I have been getting better results with dry.

    Any tips? Or is it just necessary to use a polishing compound after micromesh?
     
  2. Old Deaf Roadie

    Old Deaf Roadie Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    After the micro mesh, maybe try Maguire's Scratch Remover, and then their Swirl Remover on a rotary foam pad (available at your auto parts store). After it shines up, go at it with a soft cotton cloth & buff buff buff away!
     
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  3. stepvan

    stepvan Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Polishing with something like Maguires liquid polish should suffice compound will cut in deeper then the sanding scratches from the micro mesh
     
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  4. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    Disclaimer: * I am not a finishing expert on anything -- especially guitars*
    Having said that, I have used Mmesh pads to polish/thin finish on a few guitars and I have used them a lot lately to polish/smooth frets. They do work great for that.

    The fine scratches will begin to disappear when you get to the 12000.
    You can wipe the surface periodically to remove any fine dust and debris -- sometimes that helps.

    Similar to Old Deaf Roadie's suggestion, I use a product called "Novus #2 -- Fine Scratch Remover" to polish out the last/finer scratches. It's sort of hard to find, but Amazon suppliers usually have it.

    Clean the pads once in a while too.
    You can clean the micro mesh pads by holding it under a running sink under luke warm water and use an old tooth brush -- brush in circles and you can put one drop of a mild liquid dish detergent on the toothbrush to help the process along. Sometimes, it takes the detergent the the circular motion of the brush to help work off the compacted dust/debris. Rinse it off real good and let it dry. Then you're good to use it again.

    Edit: What kind of guitar (finish) is involved? Knowing that might help a bit.

    This might help (if I copied the right link at the right time mark! LOL):
    Advance to about 6:45 to see the use of the Novus polish. Just prior to the Novus #2, he progressively sanded down using coarse grit(s) down to 2000,4000,8000, then 12000 grit papers.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
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  5. maj34

    maj34 Tele-Meister

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    Okay. I happen to have Maguire's Scratch-X 2.0. Guessing that's the one you're referring to?

    I'm very new to finishing issues like this... I have driven a car for 25 years, never polished it yet, not important to me. The front fairing has been cracked on my car for 5 years and I don't care about it.. but those fine scratches and cloudiness in my guitar are really getting to me...
     
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  6. Lowerleftcoast

    Lowerleftcoast Friend of Leo's

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    Are you using a modern finish that can't be buffed?

    I am old school. The buffer melts the finish. No scratches. Once the sanding is done, use a buffer with automotive glaze (it is finer than polish). Go to an Auto paint store for the product.
     
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  7. maj34

    maj34 Tele-Meister

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    I don't know what type of finish. It's definitely not nitro. Two of the guitars are Fender Japan guitars made in 2010 and 2011. One is an Aria Les Paul style guitar made in Korea. One is an Epiphone Rumblekat. Finish is pretty thick on all of them, but I just really know nothing about finishing.

    I'm new school I guess -- like so new school I'm not even sure what you mean, lol. Finishing is a huge knowledge gap for me. When you say "The buffer melts the finish", you mean just the act of using a higher speed white cotton-y buffer pad will melt a finish, or do I have to use a particular product to get that melting action happening?
     
  8. Lowerleftcoast

    Lowerleftcoast Friend of Leo's

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    The guitars usually have a thick polyurethane finish. Buffing usually works well. The buffing pad should be at about 1200 to 1800 rpm. Too slow of an RPM and it doesn't melt. The pad is not used dry. A glaze is used. You can't tell but, yes the finish is melting. Care must be used to not buff through the finish. Ime one of the reasons guitars are finished thick are so they can be buffed with little worry of burning through the finish. A read through this may help:
    https://garage.eastwood.com/eastwood-chatter/10-tips-on-buffing-auto-paint/
     
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  9. maj34

    maj34 Tele-Meister

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    Awesome, thanks.

    Most of the areas I've been polishing are pretty small -- scratches and now removing washer dents around tuners.

    Any chance of doing stuff like this hand and getting the same results? I was eyeing the StewMac compound/polishing trio and wondering if that would pick up where the micro mesh left off. I emailed SM to ask actually.

    Only power tool I have to do it is a dremel. I do have the mini buffing set for it. Tried it once with the red compound and that was a mistake.
     
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  10. Lowerleftcoast

    Lowerleftcoast Friend of Leo's

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    The red rouge would be wrong...
    There is an automotive *hand glaze* that is designed for hand polishing. It is very liquidy. It requires elbow grease. A bushy/fluffy pad on the dremel might help with the hand glaze. I think Meguiars glaze is similar-ish.
     
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  11. dogmeat

    dogmeat Friend of Leo's

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    for Micromesh to work right you have to follow the instructions exactly. start with whatever mesh you need and work it back and forth in ONE direction only.... no circles. when you have removed the blemish, get the next size and work it 90 degrees to the first direction.... no circles. when all the 1st mesh marks are gone, get the next finer size and work that 90 degrees from the 2nd mesh (back to working the original direction). thats the only sure way to get rid of the scratches each mesh leaves. I learned on aircraft windshields, which was the original purpose of the system. you can bring a scratched acrylic 100% back to original clarity. on the other hand, polycarbonate will never come back to original. I have used Micromesh on several paint systems with 100% results. some of the polyurethane automotive paints you can't compound, it won't work on those.
     
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  12. maj34

    maj34 Tele-Meister

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    I'm a little ashamed that I hadn't read the directions. Would be nice if they included them with them though!

    I'm pretty excited to try that on the next project. I've kinda settled on "good enough" for the projects that came out a bit hazy.

    Thanks dogmeat!
     
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  13. stratisfied

    stratisfied Tele-Holic

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    Every time I've used the micromesh for wet sanding it loads up so quickly that it puts in more scratches than it takes out. I found it useless and went back to wet-or-dry sandpaper and have no issues.
     
  14. maj34

    maj34 Tele-Meister

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    Huh. I wonder could water quality play a difference or something weird like that? For me I can hardly get it to load up when wet -- unless I'm really laying into it.

    When I've been sanding lacquer I keep water in a small clear glass and it almost looks like skim milk from the fine powder having done a small area. Often when I'm dipping it I don't even rub it with my fingers and 90% of the buildup falls off.

    Occasionally I add a tiny bit of soap to the cup, but most times not.
     
  15. stepvan

    stepvan Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Should be fine use a damp towel I found that to work the best, just make sure it has a damp feel not actually damp to the point where you can squeeze water out if you tried hard enough or you will just have a mess to clean up and have to start over again
     
  16. stratisfied

    stratisfied Tele-Holic

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    Tried all that. Didn't work for me. Never a problem with 1600 - 3200 grit wet or dry paper.
     
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